News broke late Saturday night that the Los Angeles Lakers pulled out of trade talks with the New Orleans Hornets for point guard Chris Paul and traded Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks in return for the trade exception from the New York Knicks in yesterday’s Tyson Chandler sign-and-trade deal.
Got all that?
Basically, with the league standing firmly in the way of any CP3 deal, the Lakers said “no thanks” and moved on to their main target all along, Dwight Howard.
Consider the Lamar Odom trade the first step in a multi-step process to land Dwight.
The Lakers needed this trade exception, valued at $8.3 million, in order to take on the contract of Hedo Turkoglu in a trade scenario. It is understood that Orlando will only trade Dwight Howard if they can also unload Turkoglu’s contract.
Since Turkoglu earns around $11 million per year, the trade exception in its entirety is not enough to neutralize Turkoglu’s contract. However, it’s a strong start and one the Lakers had to make if they have any hope of securing Dwight from the Magic.
The trade also allows the Lakers to throw in draft picks to the Dwight deal with the Lakers reportedly receiving the Mavericks’ first-round pick in 2012 and a possible second-rounder.
As for Odom, his departure from Los Angeles seemed almost inevitable after skipping training camp the past two days and being visibly shaken over his uncertain future with the team.
Lamar Odom, a seven-year Laker player, certainly deserves better and should be treated with more dignity. He’s essentially being traded to an interconference rival in return for a salary cap playing card. He’s worth much more than that.
But such is the business of basketball, something Pau Gasol acknowledged Saturday after practice when speaking with reporters for the first time since the botched CP3 trade of Thursday.
And so the drama continues. What happens next is anyone’s guess.
Lamar Odom will be truly missed by Laker Nation. His contributions on the court and in the locker room for this Lakers’ team have been critical to their championship success and will be hard, if not impossible, to replace.
Laker fans should hope nothing but the best for one of the nicest, most down-to-earth guys in sports.
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